The Great Gatsby Criticizes Decadence, Inspires Parties
The Great Gatsby is that 1920s American novel with hidden pictures of naked women on the cover. It's also deeply critical of the self-indulgent lifestyle of rich people with more money than scruples, like that Gatsby dude in the title. True, the story does feature quite a few parties, but Gatsby just throws them to attract a ditsy flapper girl, a relationship that doesn't end well (SPOILERS: everyone dies). As a result, Gatsby's parties turn out to be empty and meaningless affairs -- sometimes literally empty, like that time he turns on all his lights as though he's throwing a party, but no one's there.
"'Oh, Gatsby! Now I know why they call you great!' I sure am, old sport! And not talking to myself right now!"
Due to its critical tone and tragic ending, the story has been called a "cautionary tale of the decadent downside of the American dream." You can debate whether the big-budget Leo DiCaprio movie adaptation grasped the message of the book, but we know one group of people who absolutely didn't.
The Fans Who Missed the Point
Yeah, it turns out that when your story has rich people dressed fabulously in opulent surroundings drinking classy liquor, fans aren't as likely to say "Look at the selfishness, hypocrisy, and moral vacuum" as they are to say "That party is AWESOME. Let's do that." For instance, rich people love throwing non-ironic "Gatsby parties," unaware that invoking the name of the novel basically amounts to admitting that the world would be a much better place without you.
"The firecrackers are all made from poor children's letters to Santa."
A few years ago, Prince Harry attended a Gatsby-themed 21st birthday party that cost $25,000 to throw. The following year, Paul McCartney threw his own expensive Gatsby birthday gala (although they're Brits, so in their case we could at least understand why they'd want to dance on the corpse of the American dream). Meanwhile, if you dare venture into Pinterest, you'll find page after page of users collecting material for Gatsby-themed weddings. As Zachary Seward of The Atlantic puts it, "It's like throwing a Lolita-themed children's birthday party."
Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images"Nice gun for my hubby to shoot after I die in a car crash. (11 repins, 7 likes)"